Wednesday, March 31, 2004

1. I'm more than a little offended by what TiVo thinks I want to watch. Apparently TiVo takes a look at your fave programs and then picks other stuff it thinks suits your tastes and then automatically records it for you. So far, I've programmed things like Will & Grace, Queer Eye, South Park, SNL, The Apprentice and Playing it Straight. And from that list, TiVo has extrapolated some "related" interest in crap like Full House and A Different World and a bunch of obscure morons-on-parade sitcoms on the WB. AS IF.

2. How hot is this guy? I hate it when they're interesting, articulate, funny, accomplished and sexy as all hell but they live half a continent away.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

It finally happened!
(And with fabulous coincidental timing!)

I've been writing junk mail (ahem -- direct mail) since 1992. And in all these years, I've never been mailed anything I've written as though I were a legitimate potential customer. I've received tons of seed mailings -- addressed to some variation of Jake Q. Sample and mailed so we can gauge when our packages are reaching the public -- but I've never gotten a plain-old Jake-written mailing with my plain-old name on it.

Until today. I opened my mailbox after work tonight to find the control package I wrote last year for the AT&T Universal Platinum MasterCard® sitting there waiting for me. (It's in a white envelope with a jumble of months printed down the right side with a big BONUS reversed out of a blue-and-red rectangle -- in case you wanted to check to see if you got it too. And a control package, for those of you who are just dying to know, is the package that continues getting the best response every time it's tested against a different package in the mail. I currently have two controls in regular circulation (thank you for your applause), but I'll never receive the other one because it's aimed at business owners who carry the American Airlines credit card from Citibank.)

But I digress. Big surprise.

Anyway, the great coincidence here is I just returned from a day trip to NYC to present new concepts to Citibank for the upcoming relaunch of the AT&T Universal Platinum MasterCard®. And the control package I wrote for that very card is sitting in my mailbox when I get home. Is that not completely cosmic?

I do find it kind of funny that three of us have spent countless hours today in cabs, airports, planes, more cabs and corporate cafeterias so we could spend one hour in front of the client and then hop in cabs, airports, planes and more cabs once again to get home in time for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Back from rehearsal. I'm happy to report that my TiVo finally worked. Woo-hoo!

And I was shocked to discover when I got to rehearsal and everyone started asking me why I was so red that I actually got a sunburn running today. The weather was so beautiful and I was so used to being in the Chicago winter that it never dawned on me to wear sunscreen.

Anyway, spring is here! Woo-hoo again!

Probably my worst 8K time EVER. Fortunately, it wasn't because I'm a sluggish runner; the Shamrock Shuffle had an epic surplus of entrants, and the crowd never got spaced out enough for us to run at our usual pace. Josh, Katie and I spent the entire race dodging and weaving among the other runners, but we did have fun chatting and laughing and gawking at the veritable sea of bodies ahead of and behind us as far as we could see.

I got home in time to make a second 40-minute tech support call to TiVo -- the first one to figure out how to wire the damn thing into my surround sound, and the second because apparently I was too dumb to know what kind of cable package I had. Anyway, it's up and running and recording its first show as I type this. Stay tuned to see if it actually works.

Now I'm off to chorus rehearsal and then to Sidetrack to flirt with guys.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

The Bob and Jake Chicago Theater Adventure continues!

Last night Bob and I met up for a better-than-average dinner with a spectacular view at the new Millennium Park restaurant whose name I cannot remember. Our bellies filled with greasy entrees and those amazing chocolate volcano dessert thingies, we waddled up the street after dinner to the funky -- but not very patron-friendly -- new Harris Theater for Music and Dance to see the Rhythm & Romance section of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's spring repertory concert series.

The concert was fine, offering a thoughtfully varied program of pieces I simply didn't care for -- with the exception of the lush Kiss pas de deux. Beautifully lyrical, emotionally charged and just plain visceral, the piece features a man and a woman suspended on ropes dancing and twirling and engaging in the epic passions that lovers sometimes do. It's set to the evocative "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten" by Arvo Pärt, a composer I've never heard of who was clearly influenced by (or who influenced) Henryk Górecki's equally succulent third symphony.

After the concert, we headed to Bob's to nail down travel dates for our October trip to London and Paris. And since Hubbard Street had caused me to miss my Friday night date with Playing it Straight, I coerced poor Bob into recording and then watching the trashy thing with me.

And I was so impressed with Bob's Replay TV (and with Keith and Steve's TiVo on Thursday night) that this afternoon -- after getting the rest of my arms waxed and enrolling in French II -- I headed to my friendly neighborhood Best Buy and joined the TiVo generation.

My TiVo is currently studying or marinating or chatting with my cable company or whatever it has to do quietly and alone for the first five hours of its life before it will join me on my effortless TV-watching adventures. But that's OK -- I'm off to a chorus gig in the Loop and then to bed to rest up for tomorrow's Shamrock Shuffle 8K.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Can I get turned on by an obscure vocabulary word?

Apparently so. I've been emailing back and forth with R., the charming, effortlessly handsome Ph.D. student (I finally found out what he does) I met Monday night at Sidetrack (see Tuesday's post). Our emails have been filled with the witty, pretentious banter I usually like to lob back and forth with friends, pundits and potential suitors.

And then this morning in an email he casually (and -- of course -- correctly) tosses out Bildungsroman -- which is only my favorite pretentious, obscure-literary-reference word ever (it ranks right up there with solipsism and picaresque). Among us tortured-intellectual English majors, it's words like Bildungsroman that separate the amateurs from the pronouns.

And now I'm not only distracted by R.'s charm, his looks and his personality, but I'm fully carbonated over the way he incorporates his liberal-arts education into his flirting. WOOF.

Of course, I am still contractually obligated to remain single until July. But I still can't wait to have dinner with R. sometime soon.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

I headed back to the doctor tonight after work for the results of last week's blood tests.

Everything's pretty much where it should be, thanks for asking. My good cholesterol is low, but there's apparently nothing I can do about it. My bad cholesterol is up to 169 from 144 a year ago, but it's still way within the acceptable range.

And they somehow forgot to do the HIV test, which was kind of the whole point of all that bloodletting last week. So the doctor gave me the 20-minute in-office test, and I remain negative. Not that I had much reason to worry ...

After I left the doctor's, I stopped in Kafka Wines to flirt with the cute proprietor and then I stopped by Sidetrack to flirt with the hunky doorman. Then I called Keith and Steve, who were just sitting down to dinner with Terry and Kent a few blocks from Sidetrack. They invited me over and we had a delicious meal, played a few rounds of Scattergories (which I soundly lost) and TiVo-ed our way through tonight's Apprentice.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Restoring my confidence in (hunky) mankind.

I'm not one to give out my number to strangers in bars -- even cute strangers who show a genuine interest in becoming better acquainted. In fact, I've done it only four times in recent memory. And until about an hour ago, not one of them has ever contacted me. Here's the rundown:

1. E., the distractingly handsome real-estate agent with abs that actually show through his shirts. He and I spent a spectacular evening laughing and talking and accidentally bumping into each other at Sidetrack -- on Valentine's Day, come to think of it. We ran into each other a few weeks later and repeated the same flirtation rituals. At the end of the night he told me I should call him sometime. I gave him my business card so he could contact me, but he never gave me his. And he's never contacted me.

2. L., the attractive, square-jawed regular-Joe type with whom I had a long and spirited conversation about politics and gay marriage and other social issues during the Academy Awards telecast at Sidetrack. He left to meet up with some friends, but he asked for my number because he really wanted to get together for dinner sometime soon. Again with the business card. Again with the silence.

3. T., the hot-hot-hot actor/bartender/whatever at Sidetrack (notice a location pattern here?) whose clingy tank tops and cocky self-assurance have eclipsed any memories I have of what we talked about -- though I do remember that he frequently steered our conversations to the topic of sex ... specifically, what he does with the guys he brings home from the bar. Weak knees, business card ... silence.

4. R., the Men's Health-cover-model-handsome teacher (student? I don't actually recall ever covering the topic of employment) I met last night at Sidetrack. We'd actually met years earlier, but this time we found more of the proverbial "connection" you hear about so much on reality dating shows, and we spent the evening laughing and talking and dropping references to New Yorker articles and the theater and getting all arm-around-the-shoulders chummy with each other -- and suddenly a good two hours had gone by and I had to get home and get to bed. But not before giving him my card.

And today, at the end of the workday (the scheduled workday -- it's now after 8 pm and I'm still at work), my inbox chimed with a nice note from him. And then two more. And now we're having dinner next week.

Moral of the story: There are cute men who follow through on their promises to call. It just takes a whole box of business cards to find them.

Monday, March 22, 2004

I'm in! I'm in!

I just got home from my interview -- and I've gone from being a mere finalist to being one of the anointed few who will be profiled in Chicago magazine's annual Top 20 Singles issue this July!

So now the whole city will know that I'm completely incapable of maintaining a relationship. Wait -- that came out wrong. I meant to say that I'll be profiled as a catchworthy prize in a huge, glossy monthly aimed at an extremely literate and well-to-do demographic.

And did I mention that I'll get to have a photo shoot with a high-fashion photographer? And that I'll be an attraction at a huge fund-raiser event staged to kick off the singles issue? (I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that people will pay money to attend a party because I'll be there -- even though they won't even know me. Yet. I'll be given pseudo-celebrity status simply because I can't get a date. Not since the days of Madonna and George W. Bush have people achieved such prominence without providing any real substance.)

The interview tonight was a lot of fun. (Of course, when is getting the opportunity to blather on and on about yourself to a stranger whose job it is to listen and take notes not fun?) The woman who interviewed me was actually quite interesting and a delight to talk to. We had a lot in common, and I really enjoyed our conversation. If I weren't such a big homo -- and if I weren't contractually obligated to remain single until at least July -- I'd probably ask her out. She seemed genuinely thrilled to talk to me, which bodes well for the content and the tone of the profile she'll write about me. And she was extremely polite and courteous in the way she never once mentioned the disgusting little rash running up and down my forearms from Saturday's wax job. (Of course, she never complimented me on my spiffy new shoes either -- so I'll choose to believe she was really focused on her note-taking.)

She also said that people who've been profiled in past singles issues have been inundated with phone calls and letters and flowers and other forms of courtship from amorous Chicagoans. (Of course, I was once the Big Gay Cocktail Club's featured bachelor of the month -- and even with a Web profile and an email address to help people find me, I didn't get so much as a "good luck finding a boyfriend with that nose" from anyone. Sniff.

In any case, I'd better enjoy my anonymity while I can. So I'm off to join Matthew at Sidetrack for some show tunes.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Buyer's Remorse

It turns out there's a reason the sexy black running shoes I bought yesterday make my feet look small: The shoes are too small. I wore them last night to Rick's movie night (where I just sat in them) and then to Sidetrack (where I just stood in them), and by the time I limped home I realized there was NO way I could ever run in them. So $40 poorer and infinitely wiser, I now have to figure out what the hell to do with them.

And speaking of the unpleasant aftermath of yesterday's big gay adventure, my freshly waxed forearms developed a LOVELY pattern of red splotches and bumps last night at Sidetrack. Good thing the lighting was relatively low.

In any case, my gay day wasn't quite over when I made yesterday's post. We decided to watch Victor/Victoria -- which I'd never seen -- last night at Rick's. And it was fabulous -- especially the throwaway moments like the inspector's barstool and Norma's inability to understand French.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

How gay is Jake?

1) Gay.
2) Gay-ass.
3) Way gay.
4) Gary Bauer.

I'm so gay I had a fabulous spa day today with Paul. We started at Albert (say it with me: al-BERRRRRRRGH), a fussy little patisserie just north of downtown, where we enjoyed petite baguettes and French toast (get it?) and real table linens. Then we walked to a nearby wax-a-torium where we proceeded to get our backs waxed by a strong Polish lady. And since I have (well, had) little-to-no back hair, I opted to get my arms waxed as well. (Ouch!)

Newly smooth, we maneuvered through traffic logjammed around a war protest to just make it to a manicure/pedicure appointment in Boystown. As some of you may recall, my last manicure ended up being a bloody mess. This one was MUCH better, though one cuticle has been seeping a bit of red all afternoon.

Famished from our beauty ordeals, we headed to our friendly neighborhood Chipotle, gesturing grandly along the way so everyone could notice our nails and pausing briefly to paw through the sale items at the Boystown Gap before we got there.

We ran into Richard at Chipotle, and he joined us for lunch and the rest of our little shopping spree: Relics Records to check out the used show tunes, Universal Gear to check out the trendy clothing that uppity people wear when they have no personalities to make themselves interesting, and eventually the Mother Ship: DSW, where the three of us managed to buy seven pair of shoes. (Among my newest possessions: black running shoes (that make my feet look a wee bit small, so I can't wear them with flared jeans), trendy flip-flops to showcase my neatly trimmed tootsies and square-toed loafers perfect for jeans or dress-up.)

Now neatly smoothed and trimmed and shod, I'm waiting for Matthew to show up so we can head to Rick's for an all-boys movie party. Whee!

Friday, March 19, 2004

My niece pooped in the toilet! Without prompting!

This news just arrived breathlessly in my inbox courtesy of my sister, the proud (and somewhat relieved) mother. My niece, who is two years and three months, is apparently potty-training herself.

Such a little genius.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Why this moronic crimes against nature argument won't work:

1) It's impossible to define "nature" for the purposes of legislating hatred in this context.
2) Homosexually -- being completely natural -- regularly occurs in nature.
3) You can't "ban homosexuals from living in the county" for the same reason you can't keep homosexual kids out of the Boy Scouts: People are (almost certainly) born gay, but homosexuality doesn't manifest itself until later in life. If these cousin-fuckers want to ban homosexuals from living in their county, they need to ban everyone from being born in their county. Or they need to devise a way to ask fetuses (feti?) to declare definitively if they're gay or straight as they're being squirted into the world.

(link courtesy of Mark)

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Bon jour!

I passed my beginner French final last night -- but just en pou. I had counted on getting a few minutes to review conjugations and stuff beforehand, but I counted wrong. I totally screwed up on the Qu'est-ce que ... section, but my surprising clarity on masculine and feminine pronouns saved my overall score and propelled me into the stratosphere of French II. We start in two weeks. I hear we'll be learning past-tense verbs -- but the total hottie French teacher won't be teaching my class at the times I can take it. Mon dieu!

My planned date last night after class was felled by a general malaise on his part and a THROBBING sinus headache on my part. But once I got home and squirted some industrial-strength drain cleaner up my nose, we ended up chatting on the phone for a good hour. He took off for his home state this morning, but there are already discussions about me flying out for a visit. :)

Monday, March 15, 2004

Dan Savage is, has been and will continue to be my hero for his quick wit, his endless intelligence, his ability to transform complex issues into understandable, unforgettable sound-byte ideas -- and for his great fortune to have a writing career covering something interesting and fun.

The article link comes courtesy of John.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

It was an honor just to be nominated. I guess.

So the chorus anniversary dinner and awards banquet was last night. As you may remember, I'd been nominated for two awards: one for being (or at least thinking I am) the biggest star, and one for having the biggest ... um ... microphone. I didn't win either award, but I had a very funny acceptance speech prepared for the latter. It involved thanking all the little people. Maybe next year ...

Friday, March 12, 2004

Four flights in four days.

I'm finally home -- and I'm more than a little tired. But not too tired for a long-overdue blog update!

Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday was fun ... if you consider six hours of watching focus groups through a one-way mirror "fun." While I wasn't going to be there long, I had hoped I'd at least get a mini-driving tour of the city as I rode from the airport to the hotel, but all I got to see was the inside of the new traffic-relieving tunnel system. Whee.

There was one perk in the first focus group, though: a total hottie with the cutest straight-frat-boy demeanor. Most focus group subjects exist to reinforce the fact that the population of the United States is quite unattractive, so it was with great pleasure that I sat and watched Tom (I call him Tom -- 'cause that's his name) offer his ineloquent opinions to the group for two hours.

I didn't see Brian moping around the city while I was there, but I did hear a lot of people with his funny Boston accent.

And we got to stand behind Bling-Bling Girl as we waited to go through security at Logan Airport on the way home. She dutifully took off her shoes and coat and purse and sent them through the thing scanner, but she was shocked -- shocked! -- that her 20 rings, giant hoop earrings, charm-laden ankle bracelet and clunky chatelaine somehow set off the alarms when she tried to wear them through the people scanner. (And even after she took off all that bling, she was still ugly.)

New York yesterday and today was a lot more fun -- probably because I was there to attend a schmooze-the-client party. We stayed in a really cool hotel just around the corner from my friend Arno's office, and I had exactly one free hour to hang out with him and get the 10¢ tour of the neighborhood -- including the beautiful Grand Central Station and the epic New York Public Library.

The client party was at a funky restaurant-bar that was reportedly once a location for an episode of Sex and the City. Even better than the swanky restaurant was the ultra-swanky stretch limo we all took there. (There was a huge line for cabs at the hotel, see, so we decided to ride to the party in style since the limo was right there and could accommodate us all for about the same price as three cabs.) I'd never been in a limo, and it was as horrifyingly bourgeois as I'd imagined: color-changing fiber-optic lights twinkling on the ceiling and racing along the entire interior, hip-hop music on the sound system, a bar stocked with cheap liquor and store-brand sodas, and enough black leather and polished chrome to make a Harley owner weep.

I was a little nervous going into the party and meeting a roomful of clients, though, because the very nature of the situation robbed me of the only conversations-with-strangers ice-breaker I ever use: "So, what do you do for a living?" But the clients were fun and interesting, and I was never at a loss for things to talk about. And one of the guys was even pretty hot -- though he was clearly on the prowl for woman-meat all night.

After the Brasserie wait staff made it painfully clear that our party time was over, the heartiest among us stumbled a few blocks over to the ultra-trendy Town restaurant-bar in the shamelessly self-aware Chambers hotel. The bar -- which is decorated in a totally cool minimalist-meets-Goudí vocabulary -- was populated with an interesting mix of patrons and a surly bar staff in Stepford Prada and I'm-more-sophisticated-than-you-because-I'm-wearing-thick-horn-rim-glasses horn-rim glasses. (It must be exhausting to carry around that much attitude all day.)

And among that interesting mix of patrons was a minor celebrity: the hideous man-woman Steven Cojucaru. I had no idea who he/she was at first, but I kept staring down his/her open blouse to try to determine if he/she was a man or a woman. After I gave up caring, someone in our party realized we had this bona-fide celebrity among us, but by that time he/she had disappeared into the crowd, never to frighten us again with his/her gender-bending fashion-victim countenance.

Now I'm back in Chicago and looking forward to relaxing at home tonight with some trashy TV and then maybe a trip to Sidetrack.


Monday, March 08, 2004

Both halves of my trip to Iowa were great!

First of all, the 25-year Follies reunion was a blast. Follies is this huge song-and-dance extravaganza staged every March in the newly renovated Paramount Theatre by the Cedar Rapids Symphony Guild. The show is patterned after the Ziegfeld Follies, with a cast of hundreds singing, dancing, doing goofy skits and parading around in fabulous costumes. The show has an epic budget and a full orchestra, and it always ends up being pretty spectacular.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of Follies for 10 years -- and I even co-choreographed it with my friend Carol for my last two years. (I was also very fortunate to pretty much star in the Jake Show every time I did Follies -- which was a bit of a source of frustration when I moved to Chicago and suddenly I wasn't the big fish anymore.) Anyway, the reunion brought back a bunch of people I hadn't seen in ages, and the reunion show featured a bunch of memorable segments (including stuff from the aforementioned Jake Shows) from the last 24 productions. It was great to see people, it was great to reminisce ... and it was nice to be the center of attention again after living anonymously in Chicago for almost four years. :)

The second half of my Weekend of Fun involved the nephew's fifth birthday. He'd already had his official party without me at a local firehouse (where they let all the kids get into the beds and then jump up and run for the trucks when the alarm sounded). I got to celebrate with Gunnar and the family (and practically nobody else) this morning at the almost deserted PlayStation, a five-story indoor padded jungle gym with slides and tunnels and bridges and ramps and huge bins of those colorful plastic balls -- and they even let adults climb around with the kids! Woo-hoo! It was way too much fun, though my 35-year-old knees couldn't take much more than about 20 minutes of crawling around in the hard plastic tubes. So while the niece and nephew played and explored and exhausted their bountiful supplies of energy, my sister and I sat in the big ball bin and gossiped. Just like good parents.

Now I'm back in Chicago for a brief moment before I wing off to Boston in the morning to observe focus groups. Whee.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

So Thursday night I was at work until 1 am getting ready for a massive client presentation. And even though I slept in on Friday and got to work at 11, I was still pretty sleep-deprived loopy, and my entire day was focused on getting home and crawling back into bed.

Profound exhaustion notwithstanding, I can always be talked into dinner with friends. So when Anders invited me to join him and J.P. at Vermilion after work, how could I say no? (Especially when you consider that we were going so J.P. could review the restaurant -- so our meal was free and we got to enjoy it under the helpful glow of his epicurean knowledge.) The food -- an intriguing fusion of Latin and Indian -- was fabulous, and the desserts were even better. So it was worth putting off my much-needed sleep.

But we weren't done yet. After dinner we decided to hit some funky craft co-op store where one of Anders' friends was showing her wares. Then -- with no real destination in mind -- we climbed in a cab and headed in the general direction of the bars we usually frequent. We finally settled on Big Chicks -- where I had planned to end up anyway to meet up with Dan and help him celebrate his last day at the job he's hated so much for so long.

But the exhaustion was winning, so after one drink and many congratulations for Dan (and a prolonged smiling-and-flirting session with a cute little muscleboy in a baseball cap about 10 feet away from our table), I headed home and collapsed.

Now I'm packing and present-wrapping and getting ready to head off to Iowa for a long weekend celebrating my nephew's fifth birthday and the 25th-anniversary Follies reunion -- right after we finish up our final three-hour recording session for the upcoming chorus CD.

Whew. It's a good thing I got caught up on my sleep last night.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Five years ago today I was getting ready for my opening night (and my big-theater choreography debut) in a huge song-and-dance extravaganza in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My last grandparent (my dad’s mom) had died just over a month earlier, and I was a month away from becoming an uncle for the first time -- in plenty of time for me to finish the run of the show and drive 12 hours to be there for the next momentous event in our family’s circle of life.

My sister and her husband had finally overcome some stubborn fertility issues and gotten pregnant eight months earlier, and my little fetus of a nephew had already given us a good Trisomy 18 false-alarm scare, but everything was OK and looking great for an early April birth.

But these rotten kids have a way of disrupting your lives even before they’re born.

The nephew decided to make his appearance a whole month early -- after a routine checkup revealed that my sister was a few quarts low on amniotic fluid and had to have a Caesarean section right now. And that was just the beginning of our family’s birthing adventure.

My sister had been living alone and pregnant in Detroit since January, finishing up as much of her teaching contract as she could while her husband started their new life (and his new job) in Cincinnati. When we learned the nephew was coming early, Mom, Dad and Steve all made beelines for Detroit from their respective locations in Iowa and Ohio. And I bought a last-minute full-fare ticket and flew to Detroit (first class, which was kind of a disappointment) immediately after our opening-weekend Sunday matinee. But the fun didn’t stop there. The nephew arrived four days before the sister and her husband were scheduled to close on their house and actually move. So my little sister, the first-time mother recovering from the pains of invasive surgery, brought her new baby home the day the packers arrived to cram her entire house into boxes. The next day, the movers arrived to cram her boxed-up house into a truck. So our newly expanded family holed up in a back bedroom trying to keep the new baby warm and Loki, the emotionally overwhelmed cat, from bolting out the front door.

The plan that day was to caravan to Cincinnati around 5:00 pm, just as soon as we finished up the final inspection and the closing on the house. But once again, that would have been too easy. A freak snowstorm, which had hit Cedar Rapids soon after my plane left the ground, followed me east, arriving in Detroit a few hours before the abovementioned closing. So newly homeless, we headed to the nearest Holiday Inn where the entire family (including a baby, a new mommy and a thoroughly confused cat) could bond over pizza, shared exhaustion and The Weather Channel. Thankfully, our trip to Cincinnati the next morning was both sunny and uneventful – though the cat escaped from its crate and spent the trip exploring the constantly shifting contents of the boxes in my folks’ minivan.

Anyway, we survived, and the nephew has been an endless source of amazement and amusement ever since. I’ve never felt a love as strong and pure and achingly beautiful as the love I feel for our little guy. A lifelong stoic, I now tear up at the slightest emotional provocation -- like watching him sleep or hearing his little voice on the phone or seeing him play patiently with his younger sister ... or even encountering a parent and a young child together here in Chicago. And I now totally understand what I used to see as the annoying way my parents have always doted over me -- bringing me food when I wasn’t hungry and blankets when I wasn’t cold and constantly pestering me with questions and finding other ways to keep being involved in my life. The nephew is surrounded by so much love that it’s almost heartbreaking, and he doesn’t even realize it. Lucky little kid.

So happy fifth birthday, little buddy. And thanks for changing our lives so completely. I’ll see you tomorrow night -- and I can’t wait!

Uncle Jake

Thursday, March 04, 2004

1. What's the most commanding day of the year? March Forth!

2. Happy birthday to Bob!

3. Here are 12 reasons gay marriage will ruin society, again courtesy of John.

4. Our office switched from Entourage to Lotus Notes yesterday, and words cannot describe how much I hate the new system. It's as intuitive as a President Bush and as pleasant to be around as a Christian fundamentalist. I'm shocked to find myself defending a Microsoft product, but Lotus Notes is so slow and clumsy and lacking in functional relevance that it makes me want to hurt someone. For instance: You cannot shift-click to highlight a block of items in your inbox; you have to click on each item individually -- which is a total friggin' pain in the ass. And when you finish setting up a vacation message, you're given an OK button and a SAVE button -- two options that, it would seem, would give you the same result. So why the two buttons? Only the programmers know for sure.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Here's a fabulous site courtesy of John.
I never thought I'd quote a religious Web site on my blog, but this is too brilliant:

The Presidential Prayer Team is currently urging us to: "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles. With any forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government."  This is true.

Any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on biblical principles:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

Monday, March 01, 2004

Little Mary donned her skates
Upon the ice so frisk.
Wasn't she a silly lass
Her little *?